Andie MacDowell has social anxiety ‘I’m always analyzing myself when I go out’

The Instagram above is one Andie MacDowell posted of herself attending the InStyle Awards that honored Simone Biles. Andie’s been making news for her bravery. That crushes me to write because her bravery is to be a 63-year-old woman who dared to stop dyeing her grey hair. At the same time, it really is brave because Hollywood doesn’t like women to admit they age. But she did it, despite her team asking her not to, and she looks absolutely amazing. It turns out, Andie’s team wasn’t the only one throwing doubt at her. In her caption on the photo above, she divulged that she deals with social anxiety and how much she appreciated Simone for standing up for mental health.

After spending so much time alone during Covid it was nice to be dressed beautifully @Dior and go to a dream event for Instyle magazine.

So many lovely people to speak with, to laugh with and enjoy. I was really happy to see people that I had not seen in years from the fashion world where I started my career.

On a personal level I was thrilled to be there with everyone to celebrate Simone Biles being honored. People have a hard time talking about their mental instabilities and she has been beyond brave to show her vulnerability along with all her acolytes and strengths.

I have some social anxiety. I’m always analyzing myself to see if I’m doing an OK job when I go out. It’s as if I carry this critic with me and sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because the critic‘s voice is butting in. Other times I’m completely relaxed, comfortable and present. It’s important to be social, to make the effort to get out and be with people and enjoy life even when you live with this kind of critic in your head. I have to have a #strong conversation with the critic the day after I go to out and tell them not analyze every move I make. I had conversations that were valuable, lovely, warm and generous. We are human and we are here to support and love each other and understand how vulnerable we really are.
Absolutely stellar people to celebrate that evening, all of them very deserving. But my heart has a special thank you for Simone.

[From Instagram via Yahoo]

“It’s as if I carry this critic with me and sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because the critic‘s voice is butting in,” I’ve never been diagnosed with social anxiety, either professionally or self, but maybe it applies because I felt that comment at my core. Hand to God, I’m convinced that every group I interact with does not want me there. That belief causes me to analyze everything I do when I go out, like Andie. And the critic Andie refers to never leaves me the hell alone, either. Weeks, months, years from now she will pipe up and remind me how I botched some interaction and why I should probably just stop feeling good about myself altogether. And I swear it’s getting worse with age. But I think that why Andie is right about being social. It’s important to push through those moments because otherwise, the only interaction we’d have is with that critic. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we shouldn’t be cooped up too long.

To Andie’s larger message, this makes her commitment to keep her grey hair even more impressive. If she’s already struggling with an internal dialogue of self-doubt and a beauty team tells her she’s making the wrong choice, that would be a lot to fight against. The shallow side of me looks at a photo of Andie and thinks, yeah, but look at her – obviously she must know how incredible she looks. But the other side of me, the one Andie’s speaking of, knows what it’s like to have others see something in you that you don’t. I am shocked as can be that Andie flipping MacDowell struggles with social anxiety. But I am grateful that she’s willing to put herself out there enough to share that with us.

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Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red

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25 Responses to “Andie MacDowell has social anxiety ‘I’m always analyzing myself when I go out’”

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  1. Fanciful says:

    Isn’t that most people though? And most people aren’t famous, rich, beautiful actors who get designer duds. Even one with grey hair? The grey hair is just normal. So much bullshit. I’ll whine about blah blah while you give me free dior. I’ve had anxiety for over 50 years. Freaking celebs who need publicity

    • Mcmmom says:

      I don’t think that’s most people – I wouldn’t describe myself that way, at all. I’m an extrovert and there are times when I *need* to be around people – even if we aren’t talking to each other, because I need that energy.

      I have a friend who described her social anxiety exactly as Andie did – relentless self doubt and self criticism. It sounded exhausting. She is on medication and even did shock therapy for a while, though I’m sure there were other reasons why she had to seek that course of treatment.

    • Lyds says:

      Sorry for your personal experience with social anxiety but I found that insanely harsh. Andie just attended an event on mental health honoring Simone Biles; if the publicity is to bring more awareness to that cause by starting a conversation, well, many people in the world will thank her for it, including all the people in this discussion thread who believe she just described them.

      Being rich, beautiful and famous probably does not shut the criticism off; it likely makes the scrutiny worse. Wearing a borrowed Dior might make you feel beautiful, or it might make someone feel incredibly unworthy as they compare themselves to other (younger, model) women at the event.

      I have met people who can be described as “socially awkward” and this has allowed me to peek inside their psyche and what they might be going through mentally; it has allowed me to become more compassionate. If a homely person is awkward, ppl write them off as a weirdo; if a beautiful person is awkward, they get written off as aloof or accused of being a big B. Either way, the “writing off” is real and I believed being a recipient of that must be very heartbreaking.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Her hair really does look great (how many google searches do you think there were for her hair yesterday after Ellen, lol.)

    I have social anxiety – it’s hard to explain to people, because I’m not what you would consider “anxious” overall (although I do have bouts of pretty severe anxiety where I can’t sleep, but that’s maybe once a year.) But things like going to my son’s soccer practices can be very hard for me. These are the kinds of things that go through my head before any social event:

    Should I really be going? am I really wanted or was it a pity invite? (this is a big one)
    Who should I talk to? Am I talking to that person too much, should I go talk to someone else?But who? This is the only person I know at this event. I can’t just walk up and talk to someone else. I have to stay with this one person.
    here should I hang out – on the couch or by the table? Should I stay here the whole time and camp out, or is that weird and anti-social? Should I mingle more? But people see me, if they want to come talk to me, they can come here, I don’t want it to seem like I’m desperate to talk to other people..
    Am I friends with these people now? Do they like me? Will I be invited next time?

    Rinse and repeat for the entirety of the event, only those thoughts above are amplified in my head times 100, and that’s not getting into what thoughts go through my head before an event or after.

    My husband does not have this and its frustrating because he absolutely does not understand. it’s not like I don’t go out or don’t have friends, it just takes me a few extra steps to feel comfortable or to have a good time.

    • Joanna says:

      Omg I do the same thing!

    • Gubbinal says:

      +111

      You have described my life. I always have those thoughts and I believe they were in place as long as my memory goes back. Even in kindergarten, I knew I was a “pity invite”. And I also could not believe anyone else in the world could feel so dreadful.

    • Merricat says:

      Becks, I am so uncomfortable in crowds, I have to know in advance that I am going among them, and I spend those days building up to it. I lived in a beach town for a few years and the onslaught of tourists every summer was…difficult.

    • Jan90067 says:

      Becks, this SO much.

      I feel SO alone, it’s a little comforting to know others feel this way. I *always* feel like a “pity invite”; and if I do go, I feel like I *never* know what to say/talk about.

      Since Covid, where I’ve basically been a shut-in taking care of my elderly dad, my anxiety has gone through the roof. Sometimes, the idea of being “out there” makes me physically sick to my stomach and gives me palpitations: what do I have to talk about to anyone, why would anyone want to listen to me? I feel like I have no life. I love my dad to bits, but between the lockdown, and then fear of bringing something home, I feel like I now have no life outside of this caretaking hell I feel I’m in. Sometimes I feel “safer” being triple vaxxed, other times, not so much.

      I can’t tell you how many people I thought were “friends” fell by the wayside during this time. Sigh…. add to this getting older and feeling completely “invisible”, esp. since letting my gray fly.

    • BeanieBean says:

      This is it exactly, although I haven’t had a chance to put myself through this kind of torture in awhile, but this perfectly describes social anxiety. Afterward, I’m always glad I went, but I’m glad it’s over & I can relax.

  3. Tulipworthy says:

    I like her with grey hair. I do wish she would adjust her makeup to compliment her hair color.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Yes, her makeup is too harsh. All I see is the makeup. Just a slight toning down or softening would compliment the hair color perfectly

    • FHMom says:

      I wish she would cut her hair. I loved when she had a Bob cut. I’m partial to short hair, though. I even try persuading my teenage daughters to keep it just below the shoulder.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      Chiming in to agree that Andie’s makeup is off. Someone needs to introduce her to the Welcome to My Curls channel on YouTube. It’s a woman from Paducah, KY who has curly grey hair just like Andie’s. She does a really great job in matching her makeup and clothing to her hair, and she has videos where she shares what products and shades she buys.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Not just the makeup, but her brows need MAJOR reshaping. They’ve always had this weird diagonal “line” that makes her look worried/constipated.

  4. drea says:

    She looks gorgeous! 63, wow. Love the ladies who go grey! I’m 48 and I started going grey around 40. Now I’m very, very lucky because it has grown in as silver streaks, so my hair is curly, dark brown with silver streaks running through all over. The very front has one big chunk that looks like a stripe. Personally, I think it looks stunning! Ha! My guy loves it. But no shaming those who want to cover it up, to each their own!

  5. tempest prognosticator says:

    What a glorious head of hair! In a sea of blondes, brunettes, and redheads… Andie stands out. Of course, it helps that she’s a beautiful woman.

  6. ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

    @Becks1…your inner critic must periodically take breaks and jump into my head because….exactly! Don’t forget the old standards… did I say the wrong thing, did I talk about myself for too long, did I look like I was one-upping the other person when I jumped in with a story that their story reminded me of, was I too loud, was I too quiet, did it look like I was flirting when I was trying to make X’s husband feel comfortable, Y moved onto another conversation because they can’t stand me….

    And it does seem to get worse with age and especially after not having social interactions for 2 years with COVID. Also the scenario seems to make it better or worse. I do much better at work social functions than PTA events at my kids’ school. In the end, I tell myself the next day that I am way overthinking it. No one else is paying nearly as much attention to every single thing I say and do as I am.

    • Becks1 says:

      PTA events are such a trigger for my social anxiety, it’s unreal. I have a such a hard time going to PTA meetings or volunteering at the school (I do the latter but avoid the former like the plague) – its just so nerve-wracking.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      All right, y’all. After lots of treatment for depression & anxiety, allow me to let you in on one insight I gained: the “inner critic” is absolutely a thing. And yours is cheating on you. I named mine so I can respond to her (“thanks for that, Donna, I’ll be sure to revisit your comments later”). But most people you talk to are hearing the same things because Donna is in their head, too! She’s telling them they aren’t good enough or they’re imposters or other people are judging them. And the inner critic is lying to all of us.

      Anyway, that’s a way I try to extend some kindness to myself when I can.

      • Twin falls says:

        I also have the inner critic, which I call the part of my personality that is shy in social situations, but I am also an introvert. Even when I can silence the inner critic and feel completely confident in myself, I generally would still rather be alone with my non-critical thoughts. I don’t get an I’ll push through this and feel better on the other side pick me up that seems to be the “solution” for dealing with being shy and/or an introvert. I just really do not want to superficially talk to strangers. It takes SO MUCH EFFORT.

  7. HandforthParish says:

    I also replay conversations the next day- I remember one little thing I said and convince myself it was completely inappropriate and people are going to judge me on it forever.
    I also wonder if I was too loud, too boring, too quiet etc

    All I can hope for is that I am not inresting enough for people to focus on my conversation so much!

  8. rea says:

    Its sad in Hollywood female are celebrated more for their appearances than their work.

  9. Ann says:

    Andie is beautiful, but I remember reading that she doesn’t look like her older sisters (I think she has four, maybe five of them), who were “Prom Queen Types” and more conventionally pretty by the standards of the time. She felt self-conscious about her curly hair, full lips, etc. Also, she had a rough childhood. Her parents divorced and her mother drank way too much, and she had to be a peacekeeper to some degree. That might have something to do with it.

    That said, social anxiety can occur in anyone, I think. I have it some ways. I also found PTA stuff exhausting, because it’s true that some parents (mostly mothers, in my case) just end up re-living the high school dynamic in their interactions with each other. I hated that. I often think people already have enough friends and don’t really need me. Moving to a new state where I didn’t grow up or go to school right before I had kids didn’t help.

    But once I’m at an event, even one where I don’t know a lot of people, I’m fine. I can walk up to strangers and introduce myself and start a conversation, most of the time. It’s weird. I think you can be introverted and still very social in some ways.

    But that inner critic, ugh. It’s so debilitating. It needs to stay quiet and only pipe up when you’re acting truly inappropriately!